There are places in the world which, for some reason or another, have fallen off the grid in terms of being considered a “tourist” destination. This is both good and bad. On the plus side it means that the level of visitors during any given part of the year will be far lower than anywhere else, giving you the extra chance to see things without jostling for space among hordes of other people, and allows for a more intimate experience. On the downside it means that preservation is not always as high of a priority as it is in places where tourism is a main industry, and it also means that finding these places involve a bit of luck. Perhaps both could be said about Bristol. Long considered one of England’s most important and largest cities, she faded into the background during the Industrial Revolution, which stripped her of her status as a major port city, and since then Bristol has remained at the background of “places to see” when people come to Britain. At least until the 21st century.
Bristol is currently in the midst of a revival. The once-degraded city centre docks and harbor districts have seen significant restoration in recent years, and rightfully so; from the 12th century until the 19th century this was one of the cities in England, and it seems a shame that Bristol faded so fast from the spotlight. For the modern traveler, the place is literally bursting at the seams with things to see and do. Visit the SS Great Britain down at the docks, or the Red Lodge, first built in 1590. Head to the Museum of Bristol or visit Castle Park and St. Peter’s Church, or take a stroll through the broadleaf beauty of Leigh Woods, or the 650 acres out at Blaise Castle Estate. The theatre scene in Bristol is also legendary, boasting the Bristol Old Vic and the Hippodrome, both featuring West End and repertory shows. All in all, there are a hundred reasons to come to Bristol, and none why you shouldn’t.
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